People in St. Jean Baptiste, Man., are trying to cope with the new reality of long commutes and a divided community.

Their bridge, which spanned the Red River, connecting the east and west sides of the community, was demolished last month for safety reasons because its piers had become unstable.

Several hundred residents gathered Tuesday evening to tell the province how they feel about having to drive a 10-kilometre detour to Morris in order to cross the river — so children can get to school and town services can be accessed. 

A community committee has been pushing for a replacement bridge but the province has not made a decision on the matter yet.

"We are in the process of examining all possible options for the long term and need to complete the process of evaluating all options before we can make any future decisions. This is a complex process and takes time to do thoroughly," a statement from the province said.

"We have held open houses with area residents to share information and to hear their concerns. We will continue to keep area residents informed as we move forward."

St. Jean Baptiste is located about 80 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.